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The Frustrating Disconnect

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Athletics Director Lee Fowler spoke with 850 The Buzz's Adam Gold and Joe Ovies for about 40 minutes this morning--here's the audio.  They did not take any phone calls, so if you were hoping to get an entertaining lunatic fringe moment or two out of Fowler's appearance (like I was), you'll be disappointed. 

Following a discussion about facilities and coaches' salaries, Fowler was asked about the metric or performance-based system he was going to use to evaluate each program going forward. 

His response:

Our coaches know--the first priority is winning the conference--every team we have has that goal every year. The second one is get to the tournament.  All of our coaches know they need to get to the NCAA tournament. This year we had kind of a down year as far as on the field with four of our teams that usually go.

With regards to evaluating each program individually, Fowler added:

I think it's very important that we start moving forward now.  I think that the coaches know that, they've all been told that, they understand that they have to produce.  Each program is according to where they are in their involvement of what they've done and where they're coming from is what we put goals on.

The overarching goals (win the ACC, get to the NCAAs) are constant in the long-term, but short-term standards and expectations are set by, as Fowler put it, "where [the programs] are in their evolution."  These things should go without saying and it's telling that, nearly a decade into his tenure, we still have to wonder about his standards and how he applies them.  If championship-caliber programs are the goal, if year-to-year progress is as important as it supposedly is, then how is it that a women's soccer coach can keep her job for ten years despite never reaching the post-season?  How could you continue to support Chuck Amato when the football program had clearly started declining?  It's those mixed messages--the disconnect between words and actions--that make it so difficult to understand how the philosophy ties into the execution.

It's not the vaguery that's the problem.  I'm sure most ADs would answer that question the same way; i.e., we want to win and we want to see progress towards that end.  Without the perplexing way in which certain moribund programs have been handled, the details can go unspoken because the actions are explanation enough.